Running of the GMs in Pamplona

12/31/2003 – A very hotly contested tournament in Spain ended in a three-way tie between McShane, Sutovsky, and local hero Illescas. No player finished without a loss and only 33% of the games were drawn. Two of the world's youngest Grandmasters, Nakamura and Karjakin, had a rough time but managed to score a pair of wins each. More..

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The Grandmasters are bullish in Pamplona

Not a single player in this category 15 event had more draws than decisive games. We love it! The youth of the field doubtless contributed to the fighting spirit, although even the veterans were ready to battle. Israeli Emil Sutovsky had the most wins but lost to both McShane and Illescas, with whom he tied for first place.

It was another coming down to Earth for Viktor Bologan. He won Dortmund ahead of Kramnik, Leko, and Anand but has had several poor results since. It looks like he may just need a vacation. (See his blunder against Karjakin below.)

Pamplona 2003


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Romero Holmes played the spoiler for his countryman by inflicting Illescas's only loss. No Soviet-style collusion here! Hikaru Nakamura, who just turned 16, showed his usual tenacity, saving at least one lost position and pulling out of the cellar by beating Pelletier in the final round in a very attractive game.

13-year-old Sergey Karjakin learned that his rise to the world championship (at 16, so he said!) won't be a straight and narrow path. After a solid start he lost four games in a row, although he bounced back to beat Romero Holmes in the last round to pull equal with Pelletier. This isn't the first time Karjakin has lost points in an event; he's already a seasoned pro. He needs to keep pushing for the next few years while there are plenty of invitations for the world's youngest GM because soon enough that won't be him anymore!

Our congratulations to the winners and to all the players and the organizers for a tremendous fighting event.

23.Nb4?? (diagram) A remarkable blunder from a world-class player. Bologan has been playing a lot since his phenomenal win in Dortmund and from the looks of things he needs a rest! This disaster occurred in the very first round.

23...Bc4-+ Winning the queen. It's surprising that Bologan can play on here, but he gets a bishop and rook for the queen and the extra cost of a trapped knight. Plus, resigning on move 23 against someone younger than your shoes is too much to take.

24.Nxc6 Bxd3 25.Na7 Qb8 26.Rxd3 [26.cxd3 Nc5 27.Nd5 Nb3-+] 26...Nc5 27.Rdd1 [27.Rd5 Ne6 28.Rf1 Nd4-+] 27...Ne6 [27...Qxa7?! 28.b4-+] 28.Nd5 Nd4 29.Rxd4 [29.Rd3 f5 (29...Qxa7?! 30.c3-+; 29...Nxc2) 30.c3 Ne2+ (30...Qxa7?! 31.cxd4 fxe4 32.dxe5-+) 31.Kf1 fxe4 32.fxe4 Nc1-+] 29...exd4 [29...Qxa7?! 30.Rd3 Qb8 31.Re1] 30.Bxd4 f5 31.c3 Qd8 0-1


Things didn't go much better for Bologan when he had the white pieces. He innovated against Sutovsky in the Najdorf Sicilian, which was quite popular in Pamplona. White played g5 immediately and Black has just replied with 11...d4. Bologan probably wouldn't have more than equality after 12.gxf6 dxe3 so he went for a speculative piece sacrifice.

White simply looks lost a few moves later. 12.Nxd4?! [12.gxf6 dxe3 13.Qxe3 gxf6 14.Bd3 h5] 12...exd4 13.Bxd4 Nh5 14.Qf2?! [14.Qe3 Protecting the g5 pawn. 14...Nc4 15.Bxc4 Bxc4 16.0-0-0] 14...Nc4 15.Bxc4 Bxc4 16.0-0-0 [16.h4] 16...Qxg5+ Now it's just a matter of consolidation. Bologan fights on gamely.

17.Kb1 Be7 18.Be3 Qh4 19.Qxh4 Bxh4 20.Nd5 Bd8 21.Rd4 Rc8 22.b3 Be2 23.f4 Nf6 24.Re1 Bb5 25.c4 Bc6 26.f5 Bxd5 27.exd5 Kd7 28.Rd3 Re8 29.Rf1 Ne4 0-1


American Hikaru Nakamura is known for fighting to the bitter end but even he would have had to throw in the towel if Luke McShane had found the cruncher in the diagram.

McShane has white and Black has his own threat of ..hxg2. White figures he has time to dodge that first and played 37.g3? Instead, Fritz finds the spectacular decoy/interference blow 37.Bh6!! threatening mate on h8 and drawing the queen to h6 where it falls to a discovered attack.

[37.Bh6!! A great interference/decoy shot. White threatens Qh8 mate. The queen is lured to h6. 37...Qxh6 (37...Rg7 38.Bxg7 Nxg7 39.Qd8+ Kh7 40.Nf8+ Kh8 41.Nd7+ Kh7 42.Nf6+; 37...Ng7 38.Qd8+ Kh7 39.Nf8+ Kg8 40.Nd7+ Kh7 41.Nf6+) 38.Ne7+ Rxe7 39.Qxh6+-]

37...h2+!= Nakamura's tough defense pays off. Miracle draw! [37...Nxg5?? 38.Qf8+ Kh7 39.Qh8+ Kxg6 40.Rf6#] 38.Kh1 [38.Kg2?? Nf4+! 39.Kh1 (39.gxf4 h1Q+ 40.Rxh1 Ra2+ 41.Kg3 Qg4#) 39...Nxg6] 38...Qh3 Amazingly Black has time to make this quiet move. [38...Nxg5?? 39.Qf8+ Kh7 40.Qh8+ Kxg6 41.Rf6#] 39.Bh4 [39.Bh6 Nf4]

39...Nf4! An interference move to counter an interference move. The f1 rook is hanging and the back rank is weak. Fantastic stuff. 40.Qh8+ Kf7 41.Qf6+ Kg8 ½-½

Online replay and download of these and other selected games
from Pamplona 2003 with notes by Deep Fritz 8

Mig Greengard


Topics Pamplona 2003
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